The EU-level agreement on CAP reform reached at the end of June means that work can start on the development of schemes at national level. One big change is the introduction of ‘Greening’, representing 30% of the Single Farm Payment. Certified organic farms will automatically qualify for Greening, but it is also likely that many farms with high proportions of permanent grassland, as well as entry level agri-environment scheme participants will also qualify.
Under Pillar 2 (rural development), the status of organic farming has been enhanced, with a separate article in the regulation and encouragement to consider schemes for groups for farmers as well as individuals, to avoid adding too many supplementary eligibility requirements, to consider creating a context for organic support in the form of action plans, and to make use of synergies with other rural development measures, including capital investments, marketing support measures, training and advice.
A key issue for developing organic and other agri-environment schemes will be meeting the requirement that there is no dual funding between Pillar 1 Greening and Pillar 2 support. For organic farming, this may mean identifying which parts of organic regulations are ‘Greening equivalent’ (such as implementing good husbandry and rotations) and which are not and therefore eligible for Pillar 2 support (e.g. not using nitrogen fertilisers and herbicides).
There is still a lot of clarity needed on the agreement details, in the meantime the following links provide access to some of the currently available information:
European Commission briefing on the CAP deal
Council of Ministers press release
Soil Association press release
ARC collection of reactions to CAP reform deal
The Organic Research Centre’s CAP reform pages will be updated as more information becomes available.
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